Consequences of Getting a Medical Card in West Virginia

Apply For West Virginia Medical Marijuana Card Online

Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Card in West Virginia

There are certain benefits to having a medical marijuana card in West Virginia. These include:

Legal Protection

In West Virginia, a medical marijuana card protects the cardholder from prosecution or arrest for the lawful possession or purchase of marijuana products. However, a medical marijuana cardholder can be prosecuted for cultivating marijuana for personal use because it is illegal under Section 60A-4-401 of the West Virginia Code. Medical marijuana consumers must carry their MMJ cards with valid government-issued IDs to legally purchase/possess marijuana products in the state. The possession of cannabis in West Virginia without a medical marijuana card is punishable by incarceration for up to 6 months and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.

Access for Minors

Qualifying patients who are under 18 years old (minors) in West Virginia can apply for medical marijuana cards to buy or possess marijuana through their designated caregivers. However, recreational marijuana use or possession is illegal for minors and other persons in the state.

Reciprocity

West Virginia’s medical marijuana cards are valid for the purchase or possession of cannabis in some states that offer medical marijuana reciprocity. States that allow West Virginia’s MMJ cardholders to buy or possess cannabis in their territories include Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.

Employment Protection

The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, Section 16A-15-4, provides employees who are MMJ users with some protection from workplace discrimination. For instance, it is unlawful for employers in the state to discriminate or retaliate against employees solely because they are authorized for medical cannabis use. Employers can also not refuse to hire employees only because they are medical cannabis users. However, they are also not required to accommodate medical marijuana use in the workplace. The Medical Cannabis Act does not permit employees to use medical cannabis if it could lead to negligence or professional malpractice/misconduct while working. The possession or use of medical cannabis is not permitted for employees in the following workplaces:

  • A state correctional facility or regional jail facility authority
  • A youth detention center and other facilities for delinquent children

Medical marijuana cards do not show up on background checks. However, MMJ cardholders who fail drug tests in their workplaces may face disciplinary actions. MMJ users in West Virginia cannot work as federal employees because of the federal ban on marijuana use or possession.

Downsides of Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in West Virginia

The downsides of getting a medical marijuana card in West Virginia include the following:

Firearm Prohibition

The Federal Gun Control Act forbids medical marijuana cardholders in West Virginia from legally owning guns. Although a license is not needed for open carry in the state, licensed firearms dealers cannot sell guns to marijuana consumers. There are no West Virginia laws protecting MMJ cardholders from the legal consequences of carrying firearms as a marijuana user under federal law.

Driving Restrictions

It is illegal for medical marijuana users in West Virginia to operate vehicles while under the influence of marijuana. Drivers can be charged with a DUI for having 3 nanograms/milliliters of THC or more in their blood while operating a vehicle. Medical marijuana users may also be unable to obtain commercial driving licenses (CDL) because commercial vehicle drivers must comply with federal regulations that prohibit marijuana use. Per the West Virginia Code, Section 17C-5-2, drugged driving in the state is punishable by incarceration, license revocation, and fines.

Annual Renewal

Medical marijuana cards in West Virginia are valid for one year. Renewing medical marijuana cards can be costly and inconvenient for MMJ cardholders. The West Virginia Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) requires MMJ patients to consult with registered physicians to recertify them for medical marijuana use before applying for card renewal. On average, an in-person consultation with a licensed physician may cost between $149 and $200. Telemedicine is also available for patient appointments at the same cost. MMJ cardholders typically pay $50 for card renewals. Patients who qualify as low-income patients under the Federal Poverty Guidelines can apply for a financial hardship waiver.

Federal Prohibitions

MMJ cardholders in West Virginia are not eligible to apply for federal employment due to the prohibition on marijuana use and possession at the federal level. If federal employees obtain medical marijuana cards in the state, they risk losing their jobs. Federal laws also prohibit the use or consumption of marijuana in federally subsidized housing units and other federal property in West Virginia.

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